Sunday, June 30, 2013

Antonino Rocca

I found this book in an old bookstore while I was in college.

I had to get it. A book about self defense written by a professional wrestler. I would never be able to live with myself if I'd passed it up.

Back in high school I wanted to become a pro wrestler when I grew up. My brother and I tried out for it at Regency Boxing. There was an independent wrestling group who trained there and they had a wrestling ring with the big turnbuckles and bouncy (it's not that bouncy) floor and everything. I was in pretty good shape at the time but this is going back at least 13 or 14 years and that summer included a lot more drinking and smoking weed than working out. That tryout was without a doubt the hardest workout I've ever done.

It started out with squats. Just bodyweight and flat-footed but an absolute shitload of them. And everybody's head had to be moving up and down at the same time. It was important to instill a team mentality. If one person fucked up, everybody had to freeze in the half-squat position for a period of time that felt like forever and then the whole group had to start over from the beginning. Then it was the same thing with push ups, then crunches, and then an assortment of other calisthenics. The whole time we were getting yelled at by a coach who acted like a drill instructor and he would ask you questions that he had told you the answers to before you started so if you couldn't answer him it meant everybody had to start over from the beginning. After that it was into the ring to learn "bumps" or falls. By the time you got into the ring you were exhausted but you were expected to pick up the breakfalling techniques right away. There was no time for anybody to be lagging behind, if you weren't up to par with everybody else right from the get-go you were out.

When all was said and done we were told that the actual tryout date had been a week before and they weren't looking for anybody else at that time. What the fuck?! They put us through all this bullshit for nothing! We even had to sign their fucking waivers that might as well have said they could throw us in traffic if they wanted to. We both ended up sick as dogs and more sore than I know I've ever been before or since for at least a week afterward.

Our tag team name was going to be The Steel City Slammers because we were from Hamilton and my name was going to be Redneck Rage. I can't remember what my brother was going to call himself but that was it anyway. The dream was over. Looking back on it now, there were other places we could have gone to. Other independent local federations that were nowhere near as strict and we still went to all the indy shows that would play around the area, but both of us had been crushed and neither of us ever tried out for any "rasslin'" federations again. Oh well. I got to act out some of that dream when I was on Wipeout anyway.

Back to the point though. Antonino Rocca's book up there is actually pretty good. It's definitely no worse than any other book of it's kind. The first half of it is devoted to different bodyweight exercises for the various parts of the body and they all range from easy to being pretty challenging. The second half is a lot like any of the Bruce Lee's Fighting Method books. Picture sequences featuring someone getting attacked and then effortlessly dispatching his or her assailant(s) using a variety of techniques. Some of them are Rocca beating up one or two guys. Some of them are a woman beating up Rocca. It's a fun book anyway and worth reading if you can find it anywhere cheap.

I might have paid $10 for it, I don't remember. I wouldn't pay much more than $20 though. Not unless you're an extreme old school wrestling or fitness buff and want it as a collector's item. As far as educational value goes, it's fun but it's not fantastic. That being said though, you would get what you put into it. A person with enough drive in them could definitely use the exercises in it to push themselves to an excellent level of fitness and strength. As far as the self defense stuff, well, if you want to try any of it go ahead.

Fuck, how could you not want to learn self defense from this guy?
That's a pretty serious neck and those are definitely not the ears of a man who has never been in a fight before.
The guy even kicked the shit out of Superman once. It doesn't get much tougher than that.
Guarantee she tried to get in his pants after this. It works every time.

There are plenty of his matches on Youtube but none of them will post for me right now. Fuckin' Youtube.


  1. I wanted to be called "Johnny Cunt" and wear a pink dress and an arab/ninja mask, with paper swastikas stapled to my forearms like the ultimte warrior's elbow tassles. I wanted to do a big build up, say six months, for a hardcore match that everyone thought was going to be really great and they could finally see me get beaten up like I deserved, but then on the night I would just walk down and point a gun at the other guy and order him to lie down from the count. The hatred I would get we be unbelievable.

    But, when you're older you realise that the promos are the best part of wrestling, so you didn't get a bad deal appearing on wipeout.

    1. That would have been a classic angle, Blob.